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Mapping Out Your Website


So you've finally decided to build a website for you business, but not so fast!  You need to make sure you're headed in the right direction first.  Each step in building your website is connected.  Lay a solid foundation to make sure your website building project doesn't turn out to be a jangled mess by started with these five basic steps:

  1. Determine your website's purpose.  We are not talking about just letting people know you are there.  That is important, but for most businesses, their purpose would be getting them to buy your products or services.  If you are running for public office, then your purpose to be to sway voters' opinions to vote for you.  Once you have your purpose nailed down, that guides the rest of your site's development.
  2. What your visitors should do on the site. You need to determine what visitors will do to help you achieve your purpose.  In our public office example, people can't vote from your website, but you can direct them to register to vote or get their email to send them more information or updates.  Create a simple but direct call to action, which means doing something right now to further your goal/purpose.
  3. Create your story.  It's now time to tell people why you are online (your purpose) and what they are supposed to do at your website (call to action).  Then you expand on this to tell people about your history, your values and all the things that make you special.  I you use any industry-specific jargon, throw that in at the point also.
  4. Collect your content. Go through your files and social media profiles to see if there are any pictures that portray what you do.  Content also includes links to YouTube videos, technical data, your logo, testimonials, etc.
  5. Find some examples.  It is much easier to design your website (or telling someone else how to design it for you) if you search the web for examples of what you like.  You need to find between three and five websites that you like elements of.  So take your time to narrow down which websites best represent the things you want on your own web site.

Most people find this process a lot more time consuming that they originally thought when they decided to build a website.  It is absolutely vital you go through this process.  If not, you will spend a lot of time and money redoing your site because it didn't come out exactly like you wanted it the first time around.